Saturday, December 14, 2013
yesterday. What an incredible display of love an affection I witnessed at the funeral of our discipleship pastor, Pastor Gary.
Many tears were shed during the service. Tears of joy as people told stories that amazing and humble man of Christ and all of the peoples lives he touched. But also tears of great sorrow for the loss of a husband and a father and a mentor to many. May we ALL live in such a way as to have people testify to OUR godly character when WE die. We should live the way Pastor Gary did, always encouraging, sometimes rebuking, but always faithfully following His Lord and Savior, the King of all Kings, Jesus.
I have a theory. I think that the same reason we wait until a funeral to tell someone how much we love them is the same reason we don't tell someone about Jesus. We're afraid. And in both cases the people we need to tell these things to are dead, or about to die. Why do we wait? Why?
Several years ago I began telling people I love them, right to their face. It doesn't matter whether you are a man or a woman, young or old, rich or poor. If I love you, I'm going to tell you. Sometimes people look at me with a wondering expression on their face, especially the guys, but then I tell them a little story and they always return a smile.
"The Greeks have three different meanings for the word Love. One is the kind of love a husband and wife have for each other, a physical love. The second kind of love is a the love present in a friendship, brotherly love if you will. But the third kind of love, agape love, is the kind that Jesus has for everyone of us - a deep, sacrificial love." Pastor Gary had that kind of love and he gave of it freely.
When Jesus died for us on the cross He exhibited the perfect example of agape love. He sacrificed Himself out of love for each of us whether we loved Him or not . . . whether we believe in Him or not. There are many in this world who feel that Jesus wasn't real, they think He was a myth. Yes, He died for even them. He also died for Muslim extremists, serial killers, you name it, He loved us all. And then He tells us in John 13:34-35 to "love one another as I have loved you." In that way people will know that we are disciples of Jesus.
As I heard the stories of Pastor Gary the other day, just from the testimony of the lives Gary touched with his own brand of agape love, I KNOW that Gary was a disciple of Christ. I KNOW this because I can see it in the lives of everyone he touched; their tears bearing testimony to a REAL man of God.
So I challenge you today, I challenge myself, to live a life for Christ, and, in Christ, love all whom we meet in this world. And deliver them message of The Gospel to all we meet.
In yesterdays service, one of the people who offered testimony about Pastor Gary asked those who had been discipled by him to stand up. Nearly everyone present arose. Standing proudly in tribute to a teacher, and mentor, a husband and a friend. I am proud to call him, my brother.
Tell someone today that you love them. Pour yourself into the life of someone whose vessel is running dangerously low. In that way you can fulfill The Great Commission . . . to make disciples of all nations. And live a life devoted to Jesus. He will be glad you did.
You know, each time I donate blood there is a sign on then way out, thanking me for "giving the gift of life." What an amazing testimony that would be, to give The Gift of Life, Jesus, to all we come in contact with as we walk through this world. May we make an effort to live that way, always.
"He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." - Micah 6:8
Amazing Grace by The Royal Scots Dragoon Guard
[This post is dedicated to Violet, their two sons & grandchildren. Ans also to the rest of Gary's family and friends, especially Pastor Paul and my friend Jenny]